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The American Transcendentalists: Essential Writings
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The American Transcendentalists: Essential Writings

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  141 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Transcendentalism was the first major intellectual movement in U.S. history, championing the inherent divinity of each individual, as well as the value of collective social action. In the mid-nineteenth century, the movement took off, changing how Americans thought about religion, literature, the natural world, class distinctions, the role of women, and the existence of sl ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published January 10th 2006 by Modern Library
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Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting collection of important works from the main Transcendentalist thinkers of 1830-1850. The Transcendentalists were the first intellectual group to be truly American. While some of their ideas were influenced by the German Philosophers, these Americans adapted and expanded them to be their own. As a movement it did not survive the mid-nineteenth century, but even today its lofty ideas are in the American psyche. Walden pond was one of the first pieces of land to be conser ...more
Oct 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A excellent collection, skillfully selected and edited. It includes both major and minor writers, and both major and minor works. It even includes briefer excerpts from a few of the Transcendentalists' critics (most notably Andrews Norton) and a chapter of retrospectives from late in the century. This collection isn't really suitable for research, but it would be an excellent reader for any undergraduate class and for many graduate courses.
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lawrence Buell's collection of the essential writings of the American transcendentalists is comprehensive and provides an excellent survey of transcendentalist thought. It is not always an easy read, however. While the influence of the transcendentalists on American thought is indisputable and pervasive even today, the contemporary reader may find some of the philosophical musings of writers like Emerson and Margaret Fuller to be too spiritualized and mystical. It is difficult for the modern rea ...more
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
So, probably my greatest memory associated with this reader is my close reading of Channing's theological critiques of Calvinism juxtaposed against the 50-Shadesesque-porn being read by the person next to me on an airplane. Never had I thought of "schism" in a sexual context before. It was...really weird.

The anthology itself was very good. Well edited. The introductory essay and notes prior to each text were very helpful.
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic introduction and survey of transcendentalism. Buell's introductions are more than summaries of the various sections, but thoughtful and historical snapshots of the times. This book covers the multifaceted aspects of the transcendentalists, from their take on religion, their own spiritual practices, their attempts at social change, their social activism, and their poetry. This book's a keeper.
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed getting an in depth perspective on Transcendentalist writing. I think the editor seems to have a fixation on certain writers, but that being said, I did enjoy the collection. I took my time with it, sometimes re-reading passages that I thought were especially succinct. It is a good collection to start at if you're looking for an introduction to Transcendentalism.
Sep 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book was a great selection that highlighted both the well-known, as well as the polemic transcendentalist viewpoints of the time. While the editor, Lawrence Buell has an obvious love for Emerson that gets in the way of his introducing other authors, this book is still a winner with carefully chosen essays that show the varied opinions of transcendentalists.
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's really spiritual actually!
Jan 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
I'm not a big fan of the Transcendentalists, especially Emerson and we read a lot of Emerson...
Mark McCormick
rated it it was amazing
Dec 27, 2014
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